Ryan's Pascuzzi: We focus on 'Making it Right' for all guests

Published on Saturday, September 27, 2014

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Pete Pascuzzi
Divisional Chief for Ryan’s of Ovation Brands

Ovation Brands Photo

Pete Pascuzzi

Divisional Chief for Ryan’s of Ovation Brands


Pete Pascuzzi, Divisional Chief for Ryan’s, of Ovation Brands, responded to Kim Wooten’s questions by email. The interview follows.

Kim: What is Ryan’s philosophy towards customers with disabilities?

Pascuzzi: At Ryan’s, we build a culture of creating Real Connections with all our guests. At every level of the restaurant, our team is responsible for treating the guest like a friend in his/her home. From the moment we introduce ourselves, we look for opportunities to exceed the guests’ expectations. Examples include requests from a guest with a disability, welcoming a new family, or catching up with our regular guests; making a connection is our main hospitality focus.

Kim: Do the employees/servers of Ryan’s receive training for serving special needs customers?  If so, what does the training entail? Where do you get the materials for training?

Pascuzzi: Our hospitality training consists of materials reviewed on our e-learning platform, tested for knowledge, and validated from the manager. Every team member position focuses on making a connection with the guest and recognizing every guest’s unique needs. This focus makes sure that our team members are able to demonstrate and foster a culture of Real Hospitality.

Kim: Explain if there are any seating sections in the restaurants that are reserved or more accessible for people with physical challenges.

Pascuzzi: Due to the layout of our restaurants, we are able to accommodate guests with physical challenges. For example, chairs are easily removed as needed for individuals in wheel chairs or those with other physical challenges have access to the food bars.

Kim: Is staff instructed to serve disabled customers differently (i.e. offer straw and lid for cup, extra napkins, etc.)? Please explain.

Pascuzzi: Hospitality is what all our team members provide to all of our guests. The team is encouraged to connect with each guest and recognize and exceed each guest’s unique needs. Offering the best hospitality experience to the guests, whether disabled or not is what we do. Based on the individual’s needs, we are focused on creating an exceptional experience for them.

Kim: How does Ryan’s ensure that all utensils, plates, and buffet bars are accessible by wheelchair users?

Pascuzzi: The food bars and utensil stations are designed and spaced so that an individual in a wheelchair has easy access to all the variety offered.

Kim: If a customer needs help physically, such as reaching items, holding plates, or taking their plate back to the table, how can he/she receive assistance from an employee?

Pascuzzi: Our entire team is trained to look for opportunities to make a connection with the guests. We have a dining room team of managers, cashiers, servers, and line servers (those who work around the food bars) who are committed to serve the guests. Whenever there is a moment to assist, it is our pleasure to assist them (that is part of our culture).

Kim: How does Ryan’s responds to a customer complaint regarding unique or different eating habits/circumstances of a disabled customer?

Pascuzzi: With our wide selection, we have the ability to offer many options, if requested by a disabled guest. We focus on “Making it Right” for all guests. If there is a guest complaint, it is our job to acknowledge the situation, apologize that it happened, and then act to “Make it Right.”



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